Soul-Care Articles: Christ-centered, Spirit-led, Biblically-based, Clinically-sound, Truth-oriented

Posts tagged ‘Loving Jesus’

My Relationship With Christ: Lip Service or Heart Obedience?

SOURCE:  American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)

Rabboni

Mary Magdalene.

A woman whose entire life and persona had been controlled and dominated by demonic activity. She battled not just one spirit of evil. She was consumed with seven.

Until one day, when she had a divine appointment with Jesus — “Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out…” (Luke 8:2 ESV)

After that encounter, she became a committed follower of Christ. Her story had become His story. Perhaps that is why she was the first person to visit the tomb on that Resurrection morning — even while it was still dark. When she found the stone rolled away, and the tomb empty, she ran to find Peter and John, who ran back to the tomb to see for themselves.

And Mary?

She “stood weeping outside the tomb” (John 20:11 ESV).

Weeping with the pain and grief that is only felt when mourning the death of someone deeply loved. Through her tears, Mary stoops to look inside of the place where her Savior had been laid just a few days before. Two angels tell her that Jesus is not there. When she turns around to leave, she runs right into Jesus. Perhaps because she was in such deep anguish, Mary did not recognize Him. In fact, she thought He was the gardener. After a brief discussion she turns to walk away. Jesus says one word — “Mary!” She “turned and said to Him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni‘” (vs. 16) The meaning of the word is Teacher or Master. Can you imagine how she must have felt? Relief and joy certainly flooded her heart.

Rewind the story a few days, back to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus had just finished agonizing in prayer, and was now speaking with Peter, James and John. Suddenly, “Judas came… and with him a crowd with swords and clubs… and when he came, he went up to Him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ And he kissed him.” (Mark 14:43-46 ESV)

Two followers of Christ. Both have life changing personal encounters with Him. Both spoke directly to Him, using the same basic word. A word that means teacher or master. However, when Judas uses the word, the meaning is simply that — Master — as a title of honor, which is how Judas viewed Him. When Mary calls Jesus “Rabboni”, the added emphasis deepens the word to express who He really was to her — Lord.

What’s interesting is that some early Christian writings portray Mary Magdalene as a visionary who became a leader in the early church. We know without a doubt from scripture that Judas went out in remorse and hung himself. The difference? Judas had years of head knowledge. Mary’s heart had been changed. Judas was a trusted disciple (he kept the money bag) who “honored God with His lips… but his heart was far from Him” (Matthew 15:8 ESV). Judas said the right things. He believed the wrong things. On the other hand, Mary “believed with her heart and was justified” (Romans 10:10 ESV). Jesus knew her name — Mary. Mary knew His saving power — Lord.

Coming to grips with this difference personally — honoring God with your lips or believing in your heart — will turn your life around. Not just today, but for eternity.

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The Practice of Loving Jesus

SOURCE:  John Eldredge

The best thing you can do at this point is simply begin to love Jesus.

Just love him.

It will open up your heart and soul to experiencing him, and to receiving his life.

Just begin to make a practice of loving Jesus.

As I’m driving in my car, I will simply tell him, “I love you.” Not once, like a sneeze, but over and over again: “I love, I love you, I love you.” It turns my whole being toward him in love.

When I wake up and the sunshine is pouring through the window, I’ll say, “I love you.” I’ll look at a photograph of some fond memory, or some beautiful place, and I’ll say, “I love you.”

A breeze will caress my face ever so gently, and I’ll turn into it and say, “I love you.” Anytime something makes me laugh. When I see a chipmunk or a wave, when I enjoy a movie. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Find a few worship songs that lift your heart. Linger with them, play them over and over, and simply tell Jesus you love him. Put them on your iPod; play them in your car.

The more you practice this, the richer it becomes.

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(Beautiful Outlaw, 163)

Am I DESPERATE for Jesus?

SOURCE:  John Eldredge

Jesus Is Our Life

We need Jesus like we need oxygen. Like we need water. Like the branch needs the vine.

Jesus is not merely a figure for devotions. He is the missing essence of your existence. Whether we know it or not, we are desperate for Jesus.

To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. To know him as he is, is to come home. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness.

The purpose of your being here on this planet, at this moment in time, comes down to three things:

1. To love Jesus with all that is within you. This is the first and greatest command. Everything else flows from here.

2. To share your daily life with him; to let him be himself with you. On the beach, at supper, along the road—just as the disciples did.

3. To allow his life to fill yours, to heal and express itself through yours. There is no other way you can hope to live as he did and show him to others.

Love Jesus. Let him be himself with you. Allow his life to permeate yours. The fruit of this will be . . . breathtaking.

(Beautiful Outlaw, 161-162)

Do I Love Christ “FIRST?”

SOURCE:  American Association of Christian Counselors

“The magic of first love is our ignorance that it will never end…”

That’s from the early 1800’s writer Benjamin Disraeli. His “love for life” story is interesting. At 35, kind of old for his generation, he married a very wealthy widow. Years later, Disraeli remarked that he indeed married for money. And his wife replied, “Ugh, but if you had to do it again, you would do it for love.”

If you had to marry all over again, would you? I know that first love often gets covered up with the daily grind – the pace, pain and pressure of modern day life – all of the things that subtlety take precedence over one another.

The Church at Ephesus, busy doing good works, had lost something precious – their “first love” for Christ. “I know your works…I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake…But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love that you had at first.” (Rev. 2:2-4 ESV)

Jesus firmly demanded that they come back to that love. “Remember…repent, and do the works you did at first.” (Rev 2:5 ESV)

In fact when asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus basically said, “LOVE”. His answer was to love God with your whole heart…“You shall love the Lord with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37 ESV)

And even more, to love those around you…as much as you love yourself. “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (vs 39ESV)

Is there is distance in your “love” for God, or with others? What happened? Who moved? What came between you?

Find that love again. You can!! No, you NEED to. Why? Because “real love” connects us at the heart and changes everything…

“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for Righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

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